Octogenarian artist still codes her creations on a 30-year-old Amiga 1000

I recently came across this documentary about 81-year-old digital artist Samia Halaby. She first encountered the Amiga 1000 back in 1985 and has used it since to create her kinetic art pieces. She codes her art pieces in Basic and C (which she learned on her own).

Samia’s pieces have been on display at The Guggenheim Museum, The British Museum,  the Arab World Institute, the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art and other prestigious venues around the world.

(featured image was obtained from boingboing.net)

Why using Comic Sans makes me angry and makes you look stupid

While Comic Sans offers me a great tool to troll Font Nazis with, it can also drive me to conniptions. Basically, when I see Comic Sans, I get angry and judgemental.

For me, this is especially the case when it is being used on a PowerPoint presentation by HR. When I see the CS and a PowerPoint default theme, my brain screams “don’t tell me how to better do my job when you obviously have a cognitive deficiency! you’re insulting me with your font choice that implies that you think that I might feel more laid-back, casual or even EXCITED about your new buzz-word shit fad that will inevitably get in the way of my productivity – YOU ARE A SIMPLETON! YOU KNOW NOTHING!!!!”.

Throw in a couple of animated gifs and stock images of white and black people in suits shaking hands and you’ll need to put two fingers down my throat to stop me from swallowing my tongue.

So I may be neurotic, but even for those of us not obsessed with kerning, fonts have a powerful impact. They can scare you, project an aura of authority, make you scared of Nazis, crave Japanese food or in Comic Sans’ case, rightly make you look like an idiot.  And it doesn’t stop there. The linked article from Wired explains how fonts may be even fueling the culture wars in our Western Democracies.

(Image of CS currency obtained from funnyjunk.com)


You don’t know who Tim Berners-Lee is? Well you f@#king well should!

One shocking summer afternoon, only a quarter-moon ago, the piss and vinegar was sucked out of my day’s pep when I found out that my educated, professional colleagues had no idea who Tim Berners-Lee was.

Tim Berners-Lee… Tim Berners f@#king Lee!.. blank looks… my mouth gaping wide open in awe. My chest tight. Buttocks elevated ten-centimetres off my seat by my extended arms, locked elbows, nails clawing the foam underlying my soft padded office seat.

Tim f@#king god-damn Berners shitting pissing Lee!!!! Convulsing. Jittering my seat back and forth.

I’m sorry, but if you’ve ever ordered a sloppy kebab on UberEats, trashed an Air B’n’B, trolled a dolphin lover on a PETA forum or have been laid with the aid of an app, you might want to be at least aware of who this man is. *Sir* Tim Berners Lee! T.B.L if you want to shorten it!

So he’s got a knighthood? that’s great! Whoop Dee F@#king Do! TIM BERNERS LEE INVENTED THE INTERNET AND GAVE IT AWAY FOR FREE! Really? He gave it away for free? AS A GIFT TO MANKIND! For free? YES FOR F@#KING FREE!!!!

I’m aware that anti-intellectualism is alive and strong in our world today and that the meek will never inherit the earth.  So I shouldn’t be surprised. But this man’s invention has changed the life of the sports fan, the business person, governments, students, law enforcement, bogans, drug dealers, gamers, home renovators, feminists, human rights activists, chauvinists, doctors, celebrities, politicians, music lovers, bullies, scientists, copyright violators, problem gamblers, Flat Earthers, movie buffs, YouTube stars, publishers, writers, researchers, bleeding hearts, aid agencies, KKK members, the depraved!!! HE GAVE US THE HIVE MIND. And no thanks. Well, not enough thanks.

So if you’ve ever used the Internet to pay a bill, purchase pre-worn underwear, or send some flowers to your mum, you should be paying homage to T.B.L, and many of these other pioneers. Not many women you say? Well we can all ultimately give thanks to Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer ever! Bet you haven’t heard of her either!!!!

Image of T.B.L is from the Software Sustainability Institute.

Because physics! The origin of life on Earth

Space.com reports on a new theory about how “abiogenesis” (the transition of ordinary stuff like water and dirt containing molecules into “life”) might have started on Earth. Previous theories suggest that the first self-replicating life form probably came to be randomly in some kind of primordial soup. But some interesting new theories have emerged that suggest that this process wasn’t random at all and was actually bound to happen because of two special thermodynamics concepts known as “entropy” and “equilibrium”.

Continue reading “Because physics! The origin of life on Earth”

When everything looked both shit and awesome; a look back at pre-Windows screensavers

My first exposure to screensavers came hand-in-hand with my first home computer experience; Windows 3.1. And just like the neuro-plasticizing desktop wallpapers on offer, the star field simulation screensaver blew my 15-year-old mind.

An excellent Youtube video by Nostalgia Nerd focuses on pre-Windows DOS screen savers and celebrates the fact that “Screensavers [have been] saving our CRT screens from phosphor burns since the dark ages”.

Looking back at 1989’s  mesmerising “Bug Fry” to the virgin-identifying Matrix screen saver, I realise that I could probably have coded half of this shit in QBasic in under half-an-hour. Still, they were great for their time, and it’s an reminder of how far computer graphics have come.

(After Dark “flying toasters” screensaver featured image obtained from https://winworldpc.com/)


How to see Impossible Colours

If you’re a bit like me and you’re interested in chasing transcendental and other worldly experiences that are non-chemically induced, you might be interested in the following news.

Turns out our brains are actually capable of seeing colours that nature hasn’t shown us yet.

Ever wondered what a blue-ish yellow looks like? If you answered “green”, you are wrong! You can see what blue-ish yellow by staring at the blue and yellow image in this post, and letting your eyes cross so that both crosses appear on top of each other.

There are infact lots of colours that you haven’t seen yet. One is called “Stygian Blue” which is simultaneously both blue and black, and “Self Luminous Red” which is simultaneously red and brighter than white.

These are examples of colours that our eyes are incapable of seeing, but that can appear in our visual cortex by mixing signals between our two eyes. The following Wikipedia article contains some cool tricks that allow you to see them.


Long Live MS Paint

I love MS Paint. I love it so much that I have a virtual machine dedicated to it running on my Mac. I love it so much that I spit on paint.net. And thanks to the love of its dedicated fanbase, my favourite quick image editing (and sometimes creation) tool has narrowly missed being killed-off in a Windows 10 future update.

From CNBC:

“[Microsoft] recently released a list which labeled Paint “deprecated”, meaning it was considering removing the app when the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update gets released later this year … Fans on social media decried the potential death of Paint, which has been in existence for 32 years.

But [Megan Saunders of] Microsoft released a blog post shortly after to clarify that Paint would not be completely removed, but instead made available via the Windows Store for free: “Today, we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint. If there’s anything we learned, it’s that after 32 years, MS Paint has a lot of fans. It’s been amazing to see so much love for our trusty old app”.

Even though you’ll now need a Windows ID to download it, it’s great to see that this 32-year old masterpiece is not yet ready for the Recycle Bin.